Thank you to Holiday Inn Express Radcliff – Fort Knox for donating historic Fort Knox photographs. These are the perfect pieces to display in the Knox Regional Development Alliance office!
Source: The News-Enterprise, Katherine Knott
Fort Knox is secure for the long-term, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
The Senate Majority Leader visited the U.S. Army post Tuesday and met with Fort Knox Commanding General Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr. McConnell’s stop was a day after President Donald Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.
The $716 billion defense bill included a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members and a large increase in military spending. An amendment attached to the bill secured Fort Knox’s energy program for the future.
On his visit to the post, McConnell also observed training exercises.
“I’m proud of what’s going on here at Fort Knox,” he said. “Its facilities have reinvented itself over the years. … I think Fort Knox looks good for the future.”
McConnell said spending increases will help the military respond to threats around the world from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
“(The threats) are frankly about as challenging as you can imagine,” he said. “It almost makes you look back to the Cold War with yearning.”
McConnell said Russia is acting like the former Soviet Union.
“The Russians are not our friends,” he said. “They try to create problems in every way they can.”
The defense bill is an appropriate response to their actions, he said. To not increase spending would have been to deny reality, McConnell said.
“We gave the Department of Defense exactly what they asked for,” he said.
The amendment related to Fort Knox’s energy program was the work of McConnell, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Since 2015, it has used its own energy resources to power the post and no longer is dependent on the power grid.
However, the departments of defense and interior have disagreed over which agency had jurisdiction over natural gas. Kentucky lawmakers have sought for years to protect the program.
“It’s a great advantage to Fort Knox to be able to access that,” McConnell said. “It reduces the operating cost of keeping the post running.”
Fort Knox worked to overhaul its energy systems after a 2009 ice storm. Now, if a weather emergency knocks out the grid for the surrounding area, Fort Knox will be able continue running.
Jim Iacocca, director of the Knox Regional Development Alliance, said defense leaders are promoting the energy resilience of military installations. However, because of those jurisdictional concerns, they couldn’t highlight Fort Knox.
“Now, the Department of Defense can publicly acknowledge the energy resilience of Fort Knox,” he said.
Iacocca said energy independence is a selling point for new missions.
“(Fort Knox) is a role model,” he said.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Knox Regional Development Alliance (KRDA) President and CEO Brig. Gen. (Ret) Jim Iacocca the new board chairman of Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs (KCMA).
KCMA is an independent agency attached to the office of the Governor that advocates for military installations and the related defense economy in Kentucky.
KCMA Executive Director Col. (Ret) Blaine Hedges welcomed the appointment.
“I have seen firsthand retired Brig. Gen. Iacocca’s positive efforts to advocate for Fort Knox,” said Hedges. “I know Kentucky will benefit from his leadership and I look forward to working with him even more in this new role.”
KRDA board chairman and Fort Knox Federal Credit Union President and CEO Ray Springsteen called the voluntary chairmanship role a great complement to Iaccoca’s work for KRDA.
“The position gives Brig. Gen. Iacocca a broader strategic view of the state’s efforts to grow the defense industry and helps to elevate the value of Fort Knox,” said Springsteen. “It’s a win for the state and the Fort Knox region.”
Springsteen said Iacocca’s effective leadership will be an asset to the entire state.
“Within a matter of months on the job, Brig. Gen. Iacocca has gained the respect and admiration of people throughout our region and at the state and federal levels,” Springsteen said.
Iacocca took the reins of KRDA in January, following more than 29 years of service in the U.S. Army including multiple assignments at Fort Knox with U.S. Army Human Resources Command and U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
Iacocca’s distinguished military career also included assignments at Fort Bragg, N.C., with the 82nd Airborne Division and Army Special Operations Command with which he deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served at the Pentagon on the staff for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Iacocca called the appointment a great privilege.
“I appreciate Gov. Bevin’s confidence in me,” said Iacocca. “I look forward to serving in this role for the betterment of Kentucky’s defense economy.”
One hundred years ago this month during World War I, the U.S. Army leased 20,000 acres of property in the area of Stithton, a small farming community in Hardin County.
Chosen for its high ground and proximity to the railroad, the Army later acquired the land along with parts of Meade and Bullitt counties and named it Camp Knox, in honor of Gen. Henry Knox, chief of artillery in the Revolutionary War and the first U.S. Secretary of War.
Over the past century, millions of soldiers and their families have trained or have been stationed at the iconic post. Now more than 100,000 acres, Fort Knox has been and continues to be an invaluable tool in our nation’s defense arsenal.
First home to field artillery units, then for decades the Army’s Armor training center where soldiers learned the art of tank warfare, today, Fort Knox is a multi-faceted installation with a wide array of missions including human capital management, leadership development, recruitment, reserve training, reserve aviation and active component engineering and sustainment commands.
While it is no doubt a great asset for the Department of Defense and a source of patriotic pride for central Kentuckians, people often underestimate Fort Knox’s economic value to our region.
For example, more than 16,000 people — soldiers, Department of the Army civilian employees and contractors — work at Fort Knox each day. And that doesn’t include the hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers who, on any given day, are on post for training.
Those 16,000 jobs equate to upwards of $750 million in annual payroll. That incredible spending power fuels another estimated 27,000 jobs off post. All told, the annual economic impact of Fort Knox is $2.6 billion.
That’s worth repeating: an annual economic impact of $2.6 billion.
Further, the potential for greater economic impact exists if the DoD adds more organizations to the installation and if we can attract more defense related businesses to our region.
• Military organizations and state and federal agencies that want or need access to Fort Knox’s world-class training areas and ranges.
• Military organizations that want to realize cost savings and increased cybersecurity which the installation’s energy independence provides.
• Businesses that want to realize the synergy and opportunity that exists to grow their operations at the doorstep of the world’s largest human resource organization or an installation that is a global leader in energy independence.
That just scratches the surface of why Fort Knox is poised to grow and why our region’s economy is poised to grow with it.
That said, we all have a role to play in Fort Knox’s success. Our support to soldiers and their families, our great schools, affordable housing, top-notch health care, great transportation networks and the entertainment, retail and outdoor recreation options we have in central Kentucky provide an unmatched quality of place that makes Fort Knox all the more attractive.
That’s why it should come as no surprise that the Association of Defense Communities named the Greater Fort Knox Region a 2018 Great American Defense Community, one of only five in the country.
It is a well-deserved recognition, but also an opportunity to set the bar even higher. We have to be vigilant in our efforts to work collaboratively and make our region even better. That’s why we need to support the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board’s efforts to grow the available talent in our region, because new missions and new businesses need access to a highly skilled labor pool. That’s why we must continue to limit development near Fort Knox so there are no preventable restrictions placed on training operations. That’s why we must continue our steadfast support to soldiers and their families.
As we celebrate Fort Knox’s centennial and our designation as a Great American Defense Community, let’s honor the past with a commitment to the future.
Fort Knox 2118 — the possibilities are endless. Here’s to the next 100 years.
Work Matters column by Brig. Gen. (Ret) Jim Iacocca
Source: The News-Enterprise
Fort Knox’s energy independence was secured in the 2019 federal defense policy bill passed Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kentucky lawmakers worked to insert language into the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to allow Fort Knox to continue producing natural gas. The $716 billion authorization bill also includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members and $26 million for a digital air/ground integration range at Fort Knox.
The local post overhauled its energy program after the 2009 ice storm. Starting in 2015, it has used its own energy resources to power the post and is no longer dependent on the power grid. It was the first military installation to do so. The energy program is expected to save the Army about $8 million annually.
A round of service contracts was expiring and the program required a legislative fix to continue operating, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie’s office.
The Bowling Green Republican and U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul worked with the Departments of Defense, Army and Interior, and congressional committees to ensure the provision was included in the final NDAA.
“This has allowed Fort Knox to become energy independent when needed, preparing the base in the event of another emergency,” Guthrie said in a statement. “With the help of Leader McConnell and Senator Paul, Secretary Zinke, the Army, the Armed Forces Committees and the Natural Resources Committees, we were able to get this done.”
Jim Iacocca, director of the Knox Regional Development Alliance, praised the legislation in a statement.
“The Fort Knox energy security program is a leader among other branches of the military and a boon to the Fort Knox area,” he said. “We want to thank the Kentucky congressional delegation for spearheading this effort to include this legislation in this year’s NDAA. We look forward to seeing Fort Knox continue to grow as a result of this legislation.”
McConnell said Fort Knox continues to play an essential role in the nation’s defense and he was proud to promote the installation’s energy security and self-sufficiency.
“As Congress continues its work to support our men and women in uniform, I am pleased that we accomplished this priority for Kentucky and our nation’s security,” he said, thanking Guthrie, Paul and leaders in the Departments of Defense, Army and Interior.
Paul and Guthrie previously have introduced legislation designed to protect the energy program.
“This provision, much like my previously introduced amendments on this issue, will allow the U.S. Department of Defense to continue producing natural gas at Fort Knox,” Paul said in a statement. “I look forward to its passage and hope Fort Knox can continue to lead the way in cost-effectiveness and ingenuity when it comes to natural gas development and sustainability.”
The Senate is expected to vote on the authorization bill this week. Other provisions in the bill are aimed at supporting military readiness and investing in missile defense and nuclear deterrents.
“Our military must be ready to face any number of threats around the world,” Guthrie said. “This year’s NDAA improves our military readiness and supports our troops. We ask our servicemen and women to put their lives on the line for us, and we must make sure they have the best care we can provide for them. I look forward to seeing this bill signed into law.”
Local officials and leaders from Fort Knox, Ky., gathered on the post’s parade field last week to celebrate two events — the Greater Fort Knox region being named to the 2018 class of Great American Defense Communities (GADC) and the post’s centennial. ADC board member Bob Ross presented the community with the GADC banner. At the event, more than 1,500 soldiers and 700 civilians formed the words “Fort Knox,” to commemorate a 1918 photo. See then and now photos in the June 2018 issue of America’s Defense Communities Magazine.
The Greater Fort Knox region is one of five communities that make up the 2018 class of GADC, a program recognizing the unique contributions made by communities that host military installations to improve quality of life for service members and their families.